October marks Black History Month, a national celebration which aims to promote and celebrate Black contributions to British society. As we come towards the end of the month, we are ‘Saluting our Sisters’ and joining the #WeMatter movement by highlighting some of the Black women who have instrumental parts in shaping our history, inspiring change, and building progressive communities.
Black women have emerged as luminaries in business and entrepreneurship, showcasing unparalleled talent. We have highlighted only a snapshot of the trailblazing women who have broken down barriers, ignited changed and are crafting a lasting legacy.
"Champion those who are coming behind you. Use your voice, use your influence."
In British media, Karen Blackett is a beacon of inspiration. As Chairwoman of WPP Group, she combines her savvy with determination to diversify pioneering spirits as standard, challenging British values of industry and societal norms. Globally lauded, her influence resonates beyond boardrooms, across the nation, heralding journeys deeply resonate, transforming lives.
"Success is not about who you are but what you become."
Vanessa Kingori MBE is a paragon of success in the world of publishing and media. Her ascent to the role of Publisher of British Vogue marked a significant milestone as the first black woman to hold the position. Through her strategic acumen and dedication, Vanessa has not only redefined the fashion industry's narratives but has also become an embodiment of how determination and talent can lead to profound influence.
"Creativity is intelligence having fun."
Sharmadean Reid is a beacon of creative entrepreneurship, having founded WAH Nails and Beautystack. Her journey epitomises the fusion of innovation and business acumen, breaking barriers and reshaping the beauty industry. Through her ventures, Sharmadean has empowered women while reclaiming the beauty landscape, all while demonstrating the power of combining creativity with strategic thinking.
"Follow your passion, not just the latest trends."
Kanya King CBE has shaped the music industry through her visionary leadership of the MOBO Awards. Her commitment to celebrating diversity and elevating black excellence in music has left an indelible impact. Kanya's journey reflects the power of entrepreneurship to drive change and inspire generations through creative platforms.
"The world needs more people who dare to take the unconventional path."
Izzy Obeng's impact in entrepreneurship and education is profound. As the founder of Foundervine, she empowers underrepresented communities in tech and entrepreneurship. Izzy's journey exemplifies the potential of bridging the gap between education and business, transforming lives and industries along the way.
"Inclusion drives innovation."
Jacky Wright's leadership echelons of Microsoft, ascending the status as a beacon of unwavering commitment and dedication. Now at McKinsey, her contributions to fostering innovation while ardently championing diversity serve as a profound testament. Her journey is a testament to the importance of resilience, vision, and a deep commitment to inclusivity. Through her exemplary achievements, she illustrates that with purpose and tenacity, transformative change is not just possible—it's imminent.
"True leadership is when you can help others be at their best."
Sharon White DBE has made waves in both public service and business. Her tenure as the CEO of Ofcom and her leadership of John Lewis & Partners underscore her strategic vision and adaptability across diverse sectors. Sharon's journey serves as a testament to the versatility and impact of leadership that transcends boundaries.
There are also a number of organisations across the creative industries, who are breaking down barriers, increasing representation and enable people to thrive in their industries:
MEFA: Media For All - whose mission is to mission is to help Black, Asian and ethnic minority talent thrive in the media and advertising industry and ultimately increase the ethnic diversity of the media and advertising industry in the UK.
Lollipop Mentoring - their aim is to address the lack of representation and inequity faced by Black women in leadership roles. We are committed to creating an equal playing field by providing Black women access to mentors and sponsors from diverse backgrounds.
20/20 Levels - a social mobility organisation, empowering Black and racially underrepresented young people through opportunities to maximise their potential.